Tom Little’s review of the rest of the final round in National League One
Ampthill & District 36(5) 5(0) Birmingham Moseley attendance 342
Caldy 18(0) 28(4) Bishop’s Stortford 784
Cambridge 29(5) 7(0) Fylde 524
Coventry Rugby 38(5) 21(0) Hull Ionians Highest 3758
Loughborough Students 17(1) 24(4) Darlington Mowden Park 430
Old Elthamians 0(0) 30(5) Esher Lowest 311
Plymouth Albion 29(5) 5(0) Blackheath 1171
Rosslyn Park 55(5) 14(0) Old Albanian 780
IT’S finally ended, a tumultuous and exciting season which saw Coventry Rugby promoted as NL1 Champions and relegation for Fylde, Old Albanian and Hull Ionians.
There were mixed emotions at Butts Park Arena before a league record crowd as Coventry Rugby duly despatched a brave Hull Ionians side, who will now be relegated to NL2North.
Darlington Mowden Park, already confirmed in second place, enjoyed a hard-fought win over Loughborough Students who themselves were in danger of relegation if Ionians had won. An early Students try was soon cancelled out by the visitors with Park holding an 8-7 interval lead. Park increased their lead, but a spirited Students side never gave up and gained a losing bonus point which was enough to see them safe, three points and one place above the final relegation spot.
Ampthill & District are clear in third place after another comprehensive home victory over Birmingham Moseley, although Plymouth Albion have two games left and could challenge them. In poor conditions, an eminently forgettable first half finished 8-5 in the home side’s favour. A much better Ampthill performance in the second period saw them run in four further tries for the a bonus point. Despite the loss Moseley finish in sixth place.
A bad-tempered match at Plymouth Albion saw the home side confirm a minimum fourth place with a try bonus point win over a fifth-placed Blackheath. Blackheath’s cause was not helped in the first half by yellow cards as Albion surged into a 22-0 lead. The second half was more even, although Albion were able to gain their bonus point try. Blackheath finish the season in fifth.
For the first time this season Old Elthamians scored no points in their heavy home loss to Esher, a result symptomatic of Esher’s inconsistent season. From a narrow 3-0 half-time lead, Esher’s pack took firm control and set up four tries for the bonus point win. Despite this loss Old Elthamians finish a very creditable sixth in their first season in the division, whilst the win keeps Esher in ninth place.
The battle of the other two newcomers went the way of the away side as Bishop’s Stortford managed to beat Caldy. An impressive first half saw BS surge into a lead before Caldy fought back to trail just 12-6 at the break. The impressive home pack got their side within two points before BS sealed the game with a further try. Bishop’s Stortford finish a creditable eighth with Caldy ten points behind in 11th.
Cambridge finished off the season in tenth place after an expected bonus point win over bottom side Fylde. Home prop Harry Morley, off to Jersey, led the way with three tries as the home side surged past a spirited but limited Fylde side.
Any lingering relegation fears at Rosslyn Park were dismissed as they overwhelmed already relegated Old Albanian. Park’s inconsistency, coupled with injuries, have seen them slump from top six contenders to their present position. No such problems this time, however, with nine tries from a dominant side. The win lifts Park to 12th place, seven points ahead of relegation.
. Not too many people will be upset at the OA’s relegation, with their over emphasis on shipping in Saracens players.
On a personal note, this is my last round-up of the season and what an exciting one it has been with Coventry Rugby at last fulfilling their promise. Hopefully, the Championship will be equally as exciting and enthralling.